What Aretha Franklin Can Teach Us About Communication


This post asks the question: Under what circumstances do we go to the wall for our patient-clients? And when we need to go there, what’s the best approach? Scenario: Your patient-client checks in for a medical appointment and the receptionist is rude during the process. Do you say or do anything? And if so – how and what?  Scenario: As you sit by your patient’s hospital bedside, a nurse comes in to change a dressing already wearing gloves. You ask her to wash her hands and put on new gloves and she cops an attitude. Do you insist? And if …

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Raise Your Dues So We Can Turn the Titanic?

The Titanic - from wikipedia

Heard on the street (and on the phone, and during and in-person conversation, and by text….) IFs and THENs: If [the healthcare system] was just ______, then ______ ! You’ll have your own variations to fill in there, like: If healthcare was less expensive, then more people could get care! If doctors would spend more time with me, then I could get my questions answered! If insurance would just cover it, then my client could get the treatment she needs! If there were more specialists to cover my ailment, then I wouldn’t have to wait so long for an appointment! …

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Simon and Garfunkel – an Anthem to Advocacy


OK, yes, I’m dating myself… One of my favorite Simon and Garfunkel songs is Bridge Over Troubled Water. I’ve been humming it repeatedly over the last few weeks, and last week, we let the advocacy world know why. When you’re down and out When you’re on the street When evening falls so hard I will comfort you (ooo) I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes And pain is all around Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down The lyrics – are like an anthem …

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Johnny Carson, Game Shows, and a Lesson about Trust

TV show image

Back in the 1950s, into the 1960s, a game show called Who Do You Trust? aired where couples were asked questions, and one had to “trust” the other to answer it (or not!). If you remember the show (some of us do) you may also remember that Edgar Bergen (yes, Candace Bergen’s father) was the MC for the show. However, what you may not remember is that a year or two into the show, Bergen was replaced by Johnny Carson – who often “helped” the couples get the right answers. He helped them – well – TRUST. The irony of …

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Help Us Assess the LoveFest!

Once upon a time, the word “advocate” was contentious: doctors didn’t want us in the room, nurses didn’t want us next to a hospital bed, and health insurers thought we patient advocates were nothing but troublemakers. But in recent years there seems to have been a major shift in attitudes. I’m hoping you can help us assess that. This point came up in several recent conversations with people who have been doing advocacy work for many years; who have been able to observe attitudes for quite awhile, and who tell me they have seen this shift with their own eyes. …

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Serving One’s Country as a Healthcare Soldier

Over the holiday weekend – Memorial Day Weekend – I pondered the sacrifices soldiers have made for our country. I expect you did, too. I’m married to a retired soldier. My husband spent 20 years in the US Air Force during the VietNam War era. I’m so very, very proud of him and his service. Patriotic holidays have a special meaning to us because, well, he lived it. (I was not married to him in those years.) We are grateful to, and honor those who served, including those who lost their lives. All this pondering, and the tendency of my …

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Should Insurance Provide Reimbursement to Independent Advocates?

I had interesting conversations with someday-advocates last week. I love those conversations; I always learn something from them which I can then bring back to the Alliance and the information we share with members. And then again, sometimes the questions I hear are the same ones that have cropped up over and over again, including today’s question: Is there insurance reimbursement for the work of an independent advocate? This time, I’m going to answer that question with a few questions of my own.

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